Parliament Rejects Proposed Gambling Act Amendments

Politics | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |April 3, 2024, Wednesday // 15:11
Bulgaria: Parliament Rejects Proposed Gambling Act Amendments Pixabay

In a contentious session, Parliament has decisively voted against proposed amendments to the Gambling Act aimed at restricting the advertisement of gambling activities. The amendments, put forth by Kostadin Kostadinov of the Revival party, were met with a resounding 67-29 vote rejection, accompanied by 79 abstentions. Notably, support for the revisions came from Revival, BSP, and There Is Such a People.

Critics of the bill have wasted no time in pointing fingers, laying blame on GERB and We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria for purportedly safeguarding the interests of the gambling industry.

The rationale behind the proposed amendments centered on the need to mitigate the societal harms associated with gambling. Proponents of the bill argued that stricter regulations on advertising, coupled with enhanced control measures and the strengthening of the register of individuals with gambling addiction, were imperative steps towards achieving this goal. Additionally, the revisions proposed imposing fines on media operators found violating the advertising restrictions.

The Revival, one of the bill's advocates, underscored the devastating impact of gambling addiction, affecting as many as one in three families in Bulgaria. They emphasized that combating this addiction was the primary objective of the legislation, urging fellow parliamentary groups to engage in constructive dialogue aimed at formulating effective laws.

Rumen Gechev of BSP went a step further, advocating for a blanket ban on gambling in Bulgaria. Gechev decried the aggressive and pervasive nature of gambling advertisements, especially their infiltration into the digital spaces of children and youths.

In contrast, Lyuben Dilov of GERB expressed reservations about the proposed amendments, particularly their potential repercussions on municipal sporting institutions. Dilov argued against a complete ban on gambling advertisements, contending that such measures would not address the root causes of addiction. "Human nature should remain untouched and unchanged," he asserted.

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